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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • A choice of efficient diesels and one petrol for now
  • Automatic gearbox on top-spec diesel and petrol
  • Performance is adequate rather than exciting

Cars like the Rifter are big sellers for Peugeot, especially in diesel form, so it comes as no surprise that it’s available with a choice of outputs from the 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel. Just over half of sales (56%) are expected to be diesel, but if your budget allows, this BlueHDi 130 makes a convincing case for itself. There’s also a PureTech petrol with a choice of 110hp or 130hp outputs - the latter of which comes in 2019 with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Peugeot Rifter BlueHDi diesel engines

Powering all diesel Rifters is the firm’s latest 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel engine, with 100hp or 129hp. The two lower-powered versions come with a five-speed manual gearbox only.

With 250Nm of torque to call upon, the 100hp diesel takes 12.5 seconds to complete the 0-62mph time. The engine is smooth and refined, but is let down by the notchy five-speed manual gearbox. It has a terrifically long throw and doesn’t feel all that inspiring to use.

Peugeot Rifter 2018 GT Line, dials

In fact, it feels vague and not very positive to use at all. A shame, given that the six-speed manual in higher-output models feels a much more solid, well-engineered transmission to operate.

There’s more choice with the BlueHDi 130 engine, though. A six-speed manual is standard which is much slicker to use (but still long of throw), as well as an EAT8 eight-speed automatic. It suits the Rifter’s comfy character very well, and is surprisingly responsive when you put your foot down, in part thanks to the greater 300Nm of torque on tap. There’s a set of paddles on the steering column, but we’d just leave the centre console-mounted dial in D and let the car do its thing.

Performance is more rapid than the BlueHDi 100, unsurprisingly, taking 10.4 seconds to complete the 0-62mph sprint (in manual form) and 10.8 seconds for the automatic. Again, it’s a quiet and refined engine that never feels too coarse and the brakes shed speed with confidence, disguising its van roots very well indeed. The torque kicks in at 1,750rpm and helps the Rifter gain a decent amount of momentum in little time. It’s the minimum level of torque and power you’d want if you often carry at full capacity. Top speed of 116mph.

Peugeot Rifter PureTech petrol engines

If you prefer a petrol option, there’s a 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder petrol. Only the entry-level Active can be had with this 110hp, turbocharged engine, with rumours of a more powerful 130hp version joining the range to be confirmed.

The PureTech 110 is good for an 11.7-second 0-62mph sprint time, but it’s the least torquey of the bunch with 205Nm on offer. It does feel easier to drive than the BlueHDi 100, however, with a much slicker six-speed gearbox that makes it feel very different – and easier – to drive around town.

No performance figures are yet available for the 130hp version, but it will only be available with the eight-speed automatic. We expect it’ll come close to the BlueHDi 130 for performance.

Peugeot Rifter GT Line, electronic parking brake 2018

Engines no longer available

We were yet to test the 75hp version of the BlueHDi but this was taken off sale in 2019. Expect progress to be more leisurely than other Rifters.

Handling

  • Unsurprisingly the Rifter rolls in corners
  • Not as bad as you might expect though
  • Light steering but decent grip, too

It would be wrong to criticise the Rifter for being a bit roly-poly in the bends. Tackling a twisty B-road isn’t what it’s built for in the slightest, but it handles surprisingly well for a high-bodied car.

As mentioned in the Comfort section, the ride quality may not be the supplest on the larger 17-inch wheels, but this is where you'll find a small trade-off for this. The handling is a little more reassuring than you may expect for such a tall vehicle. There’s only so much you can do with a top-heavy van, but the suspension balance trades an isolated ride for slightly more body control. It’ll never be classed as ‘sporty’ but one that’ll terrify occupants less. Some passengers may need to hang on if you take a bend a bit too enthusiastically, but roll isn’t as excessive as you might expect.

The Rifter’s i-Cockpit set-up for the interior helps it feel more nimble than you might expect too, thanks to the dinky steering wheel that requires fewer turns to get the car around a bend. It’s possibly more effective in the Rifter than many other Peugeot models, making a flat-sided MPV feel more nimble than it should.

That said, the Rifter’s steering isn’t the most feelsome, but its lightness is great for manoeuvring in car parks, while the front seats hold you in place well enough, as long as you don’t go too mad.

Peugeot Rifter GT Line, driving 2018